You want to be an agent for change when it comes to technology in your organisation, but it’s not always easy.
It can be a challenge to get your technology infrastructure transformation on the agenda in the boardroom. Often there are other, higher profile transformations or issues that demand focus, for example adapting to new ways of working. So how can you compete for attention?
You know that upgrading and modernising your technology infrastructure is a critical enabler for other business objectives, but do your colleagues see that too? With the right sponsorship and support from senior executives in your organisation, you can become the rock star that drives technological change. After all, you are a key enabler of what’s already on their agenda - you just need to demonstrate it.
Make your case
As with many enterprise transformations, you are likely to be challenging the status quo. You could be affecting other parts of the business, such as those who are responsible for other technology towers or changing the way other geographies or business units operate. A degree of resistance is to be expected and if you lack executive sponsorship to make the tough decisions, your business case is likely to derail. To get buy in from your business executives, you must explain the ‘why’ behind your ideas and include them on the transformation journey. Position yourself as a change agent to the C-Suite and focus the conversation on how you can help them deliver the business outcomes on their priority list. By securing their buy-in and gaining their confidence in your ability to drive change, it’s possible to leverage their support to achieve the changes that are needed.
Be prepared and choose your moments
For the highest chance of success, a significant amount of preparation needs to be done before you approach the boardroom. Technology infrastructure transformation isn’t often at the top of the C-Suite agenda, so you need to work hard to make the story compelling enough to be on the priority list. Identifying the right time for promoting change will get the best reception from decision makers and influencers. These opportune moments include times when innovation is on the agenda, or when they are identifying cost saving opportunities. There may also be events that trigger transformation discussions. For example, when a new acquisition comes on board and integration is needed, when there is a high-profile security breach due to infrastructure shortcomings, or when a benchmark of your spend suggests you’re paying above market rates.
It’s also important to present your suggested changes in a way that executives are used to by making your ideas clear and easy to digest and centring your argument around the tangible benefits for the business. And it’s worth seeking out allies in your organisation to build credibility and trust in your business case.
Plan out your pitch
So, you have a great argument for the change that’s needed, you have powerful allies, and you’re ready to make your case. Remember, time is precious for senior executives. You need to grab their attention and make your pitch memorable. Don’t withhold the punchlines or leave them guessing.
Try these simple steps for an effective “elevator pitch”:
1. What’s the scope of the transformation and how much will it cost?
Business leaders may be surprised to learn that transforming your organisation’s infrastructure may not necessarily require more money in the long term. In fact, it could quite possibly even save money. For example, you may say that without changing anything you’ll have a three-year Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of £40 million on WAN, LAN, Security, voice, and collaboration services. And then with the changes you’re proposing, the TCO reduces by 10% to £36 million over 3 years which includes the cost of change within it.
2. What’s the reason for change and why now?
Do you have big plans in place to be at the forefront of your industry and want to push the boundaries with your technology infrastructure, or are you falling behind the curve against the competition? You may for example explain how the current IT infrastructure is holding back key activities such as cloud adoption or the required agility to enable planned mergers and acquisitions.
3. Explain the key business outcomes
Explain how the future three-year TCO will change compared to the current projection. Show the yearly the cashflow and explain the ‘levers’ being pulled in the business case to drive the different financial outcome. You could use multiple future scenarios of TCO depending on the big decisions that are needed, making the executives feel part of the decision-making process. Examples of scenarios may include different SD-WAN vendor choices, different bandwidth capacity increases and different levels of savings re-investments into an enhanced network security posture.
4. Outline your plan
What is your proposed plan for the next three months, six months and two years? What role do you want the executive(s) to play and what help are you asking for?
Keep the ball rolling
Once your transformation is underway, your next challenge is to maintain the attention of senior executives and see through the implementation of your recommendations. Strong programmatic controls will be needed. For example, you may want to organise executive steering boards with structured conversations around progress, milestones, blockers, risks, issues and more. You will need to keep the board members engaged and informed with enough information so that you can leverage their influence when it’s needed.
Our Smart Transformation programme
Here at BT, we’re helping customers day-in-day-out with their transformation plans. As part of the Smart Transformation programme, our experts can support you with creating a transformation roadmap and business case which covers a range of areas dependent on your organisation’s needs, whether that be network, security or unified communications.
If you’re looking for an infrastructure transformation partner that has the skills to help you establish yourself as a rock star to the C-suite, please get in touch.